BY: MARK KONING
Regardless of public figures, such as Tracy Morgan, sustaining a brain injury from a car accident this past June, awareness (in my opinion) has not shone on this life threatening and/or life changing disability enough. I recall back in 2009 when film actress Natasha Richardson had a ski accident where she fell. She complained of a headache and a banged up forehead but refused medical attention, thinking it was not serious. Paramedics on the scene obliged her wishes. She eventually died of a traumatic brain injury.
At the time the news that came out of this story said that things must change, that we must become more aware. What happened? Is Tracy Morgan’s current situation now going to bring about the brain injury awareness that was meant to happen then? I guess only time will tell how much relevance is put onto this injury that affects so many more lives than just the one who sustains it.
As a brain injury survivor (from a viral infection) and a caregiver to my mom who lives with her own ABI, (sustained from a fall) I can tell you that I have seen awareness grow within the medical community as well as acceptance from individuals and family members affected by brain injury; but awareness (true awareness) should go beyond that. It needs to.
I do believe that these ‘a’ words: awareness and acceptance, are gaining momentum in the form of advocacy through forums, social media, print media, etc. But I do not think the impact is making any sort of wave to society as a whole. Richardson’s tragedy did not open as many eyes as hoped, but maybe Morgan’s will. Ongoing education on a large and public platform might be the answer, because I don’t think celebrity status alone will do it alone.
Accidental tragedy cannot really be prevented, I mean, it is an accident; but having brain injury properly recognized and understood can help needless suffering. The spotlight has to change.
For more coverage of Tracy Morgan’s brain injury:
Daily Mail, Dec 3, 2014 – Heartbreaking video shows a weak Tracy Morgan limping
Toronto Star, Nov. 19, 2014 – Tracy Morgan battling severe brain injury
People Magazine, Oct. 1, 2014 – Attorney for Injured Tracy Morgan Says It’s Unclear if He’ll Ever Perform Again
PageSix, Sept. 30, 2014, Tracy Morgan may never perform again